The Celtics Really Should Part Ways With Garnett, Pierce, and Rivers

  • Ben Parker

The Boston Celtics have been stuck at the same crossroads for the past two seasons: Trade Kevin Garnett, Paul Piece, and Ray Allen and rebuild, or  give it one more go at winning a title. Every time, the Celtics have chosen to give it one more go at winning a championship instead of rebuilding for the future. They almost won a title in 2010, losing in the NBA Finals to the Lakers, and they almost did it again in 2012, losing in 7 games to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. But now it really seems to be time for the Celtics to choose to rebuild, and not stunt the growth of the franchise by fruitlessly chasing another ring.

A big reason why they need to rebuild is because Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins are both gone. Both players played a huge role in their 2008 title and 2010 run to the NBA Finals, and certainly made up a key part of the team’s identity. With them gone, the Celtics aren’t the same team they were, and are a mere shell of their former selves with only Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo remaining on the team. There isn’t anybody to replace those guys who can come in and help the Celtics pick up where they last were, which means that blowing up the team and rebuilding is the only smart and sensible thing to do at this point.

However, the absence of Perkins and Allen isn’t the number one reason the Celtics need to rebuild and let go of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The number one reason they need to let Garnett and Pierce go is simply because those guys are getting old and clearly don’t have what it takes to deliver the goods like they did in 2008. This Celtics team was designed to win one championship and two if they were lucky. It was a three year plan at most, and here we are at the conclusion of year five and they still are hanging on to Pierce and Garnett for what purpose I can’t possibly imagine other than loyalty. The reality is the longer that they keep Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the longer they stay stuck in this mode of being semi-competitive, but not a threat to win a title. With Pierce and Garnett still on the team, there remains a mirage in the minds of the Celtics and their fans of the team winning one more championship, which ultimately is fool’s gold and idle thinking. If the Celtics want to get back to championship level basketball, they need to trade Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for whatever they can get. Both players are old and their value is depreciating rapidly. The longer they hold on to them, the less valuable they become. The Celtics should trade them ASAP and get back what they can. That way they can build around Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green as the centerpieces of the future.

As for Doc Rivers, the Boston Globe is reporting that he doesn’t want to stick around unless he can contend for a championship, which means he wants no part of coaching a rebuilding team. If this is the case, then they certainly should allow him to leave the Celtics. Especially since he has a Non-Compete Clause in his contract which means that he can’t work for another team during the duration of his 3 year, $21M contract unless the Celtics get back draft picks and/or cash considerations from the team that hires him. If Rivers wants to join another team during the time of his contract, the Celtics will have to get something back in return for him, which for them is a good deal.  Rumors are swirling of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Doc Rivers all bailing Boston to join the Clippers and make a run at a championship there. I don’t see that happening (especially with Rivers’ Non-Compete Clause), but if the Clippers are willing to strike a deal, then the Celtics should do it and allow Pierce, Garnett, and even Rivers to walk. There are plenty of good coaching candidates to choose from (Brian Shaw, George Karl, Lionel Hollins, and Alvin Gentry) who would be a good fit for an upstart Celtics franchise. With the glory days of Pierce, Garnett, and Rivers over, the Celtics really need to do what’s best and let them all go, and move on to the Rajon Rondo/Jeff Green era of Celtics basketball with a new head coach who wants to be there for the long haul.

–Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord

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